I’m not an outfitter or a super-hunter. I wear a necktie and send emails most of the time. But I’m a country boy at heart, an Eagle Scout, and a guy who is more comfortable in boots than dress shoes.
I grew up in the hills in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania surrounded by a huge caring family who likes to throw axes for fun when they get together. I worked on my Uncle Jerry’s sheep farm as a kid (and up through graduating from college), and the sleeves of my old field jacket from back then are still shiny with lanolin up to the elbows. I learned to love wool by first loving sheep. I learned to love good outdoor clothing while bumming around in the woods every chance I got; hunting, camping, and just looking for things I wouldn’t see otherwise.
My Grandma used to take us out on Mother’s day to hunt for woodland flowers in the forest. At first, I wouldn’t see anything, but once I learned to look I was amazed to find the adder’s tongue, trillium, and jack in the pulpit growing everywhere in the dappled shade. Ever since, I have always been fascinated by looking for things that other people don’t notice. I’ve always been comfortable in the woods because I feel like the trees are willing to share their secrets with me if I take the time to look.
I learned to hunt from a score of uncles and cousins who were hard-working, upright, Christian men…and I just wish I’d absorbed their lessons a bit better! (They all seem to put more meat in the freezer than I do, still.)
I learned to camp as a Boy Scout. I worked at a rural scout camp in Sullivan County PA (with my Dad and, sometimes, my Grandpa) for ten summers; living under canvas and wearing knee socks (the former being fabulous and the latter leading to a bizarre farmer’s tan).
Now I work on a college campus. I spend my days figuring out how to maintain gleaming steel and glass buildings. I teach people how to use computers to make their planning and workflows easier. …but I carry a flint and steel kit in my briefcase so I can teach the occasional liberal arts undergrad how to singe her eyebrows.
I have wool from a number of different outdoor companies and I have all the modern “technical” clothing. I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what works for me and what doesn’t.
I won’t promise to have expert knowledge, but I am always comfortable sharing my thoughts and ideas with people—and I’ll honestly tell what I know, what I think, and what I don’t know.
In October 2017, Randy wrote me about the family's Old Oak Tree, and he sent me some pictures, too.
W also like this picture Randy sent from when he was working a graduation ceremony at the University where he is employed ... he wore an Anorak in Lynx Pattern over a shirt and tie, and everyone thought it was completely appropriate: